Bail is a trade of property or money with a court for releasing a suspect from jail in exchange for the return of the suspect for trial. If the suspect does not appear for the scheduled court date, then the bail is forfeited. It is common in some cases for the bail money to be returned at the end of the trial, if the suspect makes all scheduled court appearances. The money is returned regardless of whether or not the suspect is found innocent or guilty.
Why Would a Court Deny Bail?
There are actually several reasons that would cause a court to deny a suspect bail. Some of the more common reasons for bail denial are: numerous penal code violations, prior escape from prison, or if the judge believes the suspect is a flight risk and will not appear in court. After being arrested a suspect will remain in jail, until a judge reviews the case and decides on whether or not bail will be allowed and ay what amount. Usually, the more severe the alleged crime is, the higher the bail amount will be. If the judge the suspect is a threat to society or a flight risk, then it is very likely that bail will be denied.
The Severity of the Crime
One of the first things a judge will look at, when determining bail, is the nature and extent of the crime. Oftentimes, crimes already have a preset range of bail amounts (known as the assumptive bail rate) for the judge to consider. If a suspect is accused of murder, then under normal circumstances bail is automatically denied.
A judge may also deny bail, if the judge believes the defendant is a flight risk. It is always a good idea for everyone accused of a crime to have an attorney. If bail is possible, a defendant is more likely to be granted bail with an attorney present, who understands the law and is familiar with historical bail precedence. Judges are not fortune tellers and cannot see into the future, so they do not know for certain that a particular suspect will not show up in court. If a Judge denies bail on grounds of flight risk, then it is because of a significant reason.
Obvious Red Flags
There are certain red flags that will cue a judge to believe that a defendant will not appear in court, if bail is granted.
- The court or judge is told by a credible source the defendant will not appear.
- The defendant is cantankerous towards the court.
- The defendant has a prior history of missing court dates.
- The nature of the crime is severe.
- The person is not a U.S. citizen and may simply flee back to their homeland.
- The defendant is an unsupervised person with mental impairment.
Unless the severity of the crime dictates that bail is not an option, the best thing to do to ensure that bail is granted is to assure the court, the judge, your attorney, and the prosecuting attorney that you have every desire and intent to return to court to stand trial on the appointed date. The more confidence a defendant can instill in the judge, the better their chances of being granted bail.